04 Apr Quebec Parks: Years Behind
You can count the amount of good skateparks in the province of Quebec very quickly. There are probably less good outdoor parks in the entire province than there are beers in a six pack. Read on.
Having grown up in a small town, I got used to not having much too ride. Anyone who has grown up or lived in one knows that every single spot counts and you have to make the best of everything you have to ride. Although coming from a small town, you know that usually an hour away lies a city with much more to ride.
The old Taz, before closing
I remember first making trips to Montreal with Eric Trepanier as we both grew up in a small town an hour out of Montreal. During the winter months, every Saturday was shred day. We would bus an hour and a half, then take the metro for half an hour to ride the Taz indoor park. We would often get home at 1am and have to pedal through the snow to get home. It just seemed well worth it to ride our bikes that one day a week during the winter. A couple years later, the year I moved to Montreal, the Taz skatepark closed it’s doors. The space that the Taz was located in was to be converted into a public Library. Now to most people this might seem like a good idea, but to the BMX community of Quebec, this was basically shutting down the only indoor skatepark around. People from around the province would make and drive for hours to ride the Taz and it was now closed, with a promise to re-open in the very near future, at a new location, but nothing seemed too promising.
UAB BIKE park, thank you Liam for years of dedication and helping Montreal become the scene it is today
With the Taz closing, and no concrete re-opening date in sight, some thing would happen in Montreal. Liam Mulrooney would work his ass off to get Ugly Ass Bikes (UAB) open and it would be the best and only indoor bike park Montreal has ever had. Trois-Rivieres would kick ass for many years with the two indoor parks they ran, which would become a local park for riders from Quebec City and surrounding areas. A barn in Deux-Montagnes would open up, and a couple other indoor skateparks in Montreal would open with ridiculous bike hours (often sundays 9pm to midnight) and ridiculous pricing. One indoor skatepark even shut it’s doors to bikes the day after a bike contest was held there. Ten years after the Taz closed, a new Taz was in sight. The Taz most know today.
All in all most people would be happy to have any indoor park to ride in the winter, and Montreal has been quite lucky with that. A huge reason for that was because of UAB and Trois Rivieres parks who took matters into their own hands and made something happen. Although most places in Canada are buried in snow six out of twelve months a year, everybody knows that the best riding months are May to October. T-shirt/hoody weather, outside under the sun, there’s no better feeling. Canada has been kicking ass for new parks going up, and a couple of Canadian skatepark companies have been putting in alot of work across the country. According to a couple of online Canadian park listings, Ontario currently has 48 skateparks, British Columbia 79, and 53 in Alberta. With these numbers so high and still rising, how is it that the entire province of Quebec has a handful outdoor parks? In reality, the province or Quebec has something like 40-50 skateparks but only a small amount are not pre-fab garbage. It seems that over the years, Solo Ramps (a largely precast concrete ramp company) has somehow grabbed onto every single contract in the province of Quebec from 2000 to 2008 and turned out garbage skateparks. Why won’t the province of Quebec invest in good parks? Were Solo parks pricing so low that they didn’t see a need to spend more?
Here are the three of the “best” outdoor parks in Montreal.
Jarry park, the snake run section was built in 1988 and it was “re-vamped” a couple years ago with the addition of Solo pre-fab ramps. The snake run section remains the best section of the park.
This park is located in the Rosemont area of Montreal, one of the things that make it better than most Montreal parks is that it isn’t the same Solo pre-fab ramps that are everywhere else, although I think this park may also have been built by Solo.
Montreal’s “Skate Plaza”, built in 2007, it is 700 square feet compared to Vancouver’s 3000 square feet plaza and Winnipeg’s 44,000 square feet plaza. The head skater who was running the project actually quit before it’s construction and later protested against the building of the plaza as the size/design/layout plans had changed drastically from what it was originally supposed to be.
Above is a park located in Huntsville, ON. The town of Huntsville, Ontario has a population of 18,000, the population of Montreal is 3,859,000. This park would be the best outdoor skatepark in Montreal if it was located there.
Where are the positives in this? In 2010 Quebec City started building the largest outdoor park/ plaza the province of Quebec has ever had. It is estimated to be 27,000 square feet in size and will have a plaza and bowl section. With the hype of the biggest park ever to hit the province has come alot of questions on whether bikes will be allowed. The official response has been no, however as is the case with most no bike allowed parks, where there’s a will there’s a way. The park is scheduled to open early summer 2011. We can only hope that this is a sign of things to come, and hopefully Montreal will follow and build something of it’s own, similar in size to Quebec City. From there on, possibly the rest of the province will make the move from pre-fab parks to actual parks.
The bowl section of the new Quebec city park
The plaza section of the new Quebec city park
Please don’t take this the wrong way. Quebec riders have rode these pre fab parks for years, but have also taken matters into their own hands riding street, digging trails and building their own ramps. Also, there are surely hundreds of shitty pre fab parks elsewhere in Canada. This is simply a request for future projects/communities considering or planning to build a skatepark to spend the extra few dollars and invest in an original skatepark. Down the road, people will still be stoked to ride the place and there won’t be a need to update the park, as will be the case with a pre fab park. Here are two great companies who are building parks right across the country; Newline and Spectrum.
Below is a quick group of pictures I found online of prefab parks across the province of Quebec. Not one of these pictures are from the same town/city/skatepark, these parks are across the province.